While we’re enjoying the return of The Voice, we’re not the only ones who look back on it fondly. So does Todd Kessler, who charmed us as a member of Team Cee Lo during the hit NBC show’s third season, and is now putting his experience into music with the new single “Exactly Where I Should Be.” We connected with Todd last week to talk about the new single, plans for his band The New Folk (pictured above with Todd at center), and the next song you can expect to hear from him.
“I wrote the song quite a while ago. It was shortly after my son was born, which at this point was over a year and a half ago,” he explained. “I was just kind of thinking about the year that had preceded where I was, with the show and everything like that and just preparing to start a new phase of life, having a child, and just thinking about how really lucky I am to do what I do and be able to make a living at it. Kind of thinking back on where I started and where I was, and just being so thankful.
“Getting it all into a four minute song, it’s hard because you want to tell the story, but you want to make it for lack of a better word simple enough and kind of impersonal enough so the listener can kind of latch onto that story as their own,” he continued. “I was really focusing on just the idea that, do what you love and the rest will kind of work itself out.”
Things have certainly worked out for Todd, the underrated singer-songwriter who left The Voice after being defeated by eventual finalist Nicholas David, but not before the two teamed up for an amazing battle-round performance of “She’s Gone” by Hall and Oates. Since the end of the show, his profile has continued to rise. There’s a music video that goes with the new single, and The New Folk have been steadily giggling across the country. “We’re kind of slowing down a little bit,” Todd told us. “We’re going back to the studio to finish a new album.”
He’s also got solo plans, too. “I’m going to be releasing a Christmas song this year,” he revealed. “It’s a version of ‘Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas’ that I’ve been working on for a few years. I actually played it when I opened for [fellow season 3 alum] Melanie Martinez in Chicago. I’m going to release a studio version of that.”
Even the B-side to the new single, a cover of Elton John’s “Your Song,” has a connection to The Voice. “They [the producers] gave me that song,” Todd reflected. “Before the blind [auditions], when I was out there for the callbacks in Los Angeles, they said we’d like you to prepare these songs, and ‘Your Song’ was one of them.
“It’s a song I’d played for years, but I kind of played it just like the original recording, and I said this was an opportunity for me to make this song my own. I sat in my hotel room and I came up with this arrangement for the song.”
So although Voice audiences didn’t get to hear it, we can now finally enjoy his great take on a classic tune. It only reinforces that while his exit was completely understandable, he’s still one of the artists who left that stage too soon.
As much as the spotlight has shone on him as a solo artist, Todd gives plenty of credit to his band The New Folk, who have been together for seven years and counting. What’s the key to their longevity? “We’re friends,” he ruminated. “And we didn’t start as friends. When I first formed the beginnings of this band back in 2007, I wasn’t really friends with these people yet. I used other people I knew to kind of put the band together.
“So our friendships, it’s really become like a family. We’ve just kind of created these relationships through music over the last seven years. We support each other, we love each other, we get annoyed with each other, we lift each other up however we can.”
Even four seasons and three years after he was part of Team Cee Lo, Todd told us he’s still fielding questions about his time on The Voice. “All the time,” he enthused, and he’s got no problem with that. “I love it. People are like, I’m sure you hate getting that. And I don’t hate getting that. You’re asking me to talk about a time in my life that was really fun.”
You can download Todd Kessler and the New Folk’s new single, “Exactly Where I Should Be,” here. You can also keep up with Todd and the band on their official website (thenewfolk.net) and via Todd’s Twitter (@ToddKessler).
The Voice continues tonight at 8 PM ET/PT on NBC.
(c)2014 Brittany Frederick. All rights reserved. No reproduction permitted. Visit my official website and follow me on Twitter at @tvbrittanyf.